PLATINUM2024

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

aka Avant Bard Theatre   |   Arlington, VA   |  http://avantbard.org/
GuideStar Charity Check

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

EIN: 54-1568294


Mission

Avant Bard produces thought-provoking theatre. Avant Bard dedicates itself to productions of classic worksboth time-tested and contemporarythat take provocative, bold approaches in intimate settings. Since 1990, Avant Bard has delivered high-quality, diverse, and accessible arts to the Washington, D.C. region. Avant Bard is committed to talent development, equity, inclusion, and programmatic excellence.

Ruling year info

1991

Producing Partner

Sara Barker

Producing Partner

Ms. Alyssa Sanders

Main address

3700 S. Four Mile Run

Arlington, VA 22206 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

WSC Avant Bard

EIN

54-1568294

Subject area info

Theater

Performance art

Population served info

Children and youth

Adults

Self-employed people

Artists and performers

NTEE code info

ater) (ATh)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The arts are an essential community-building tool, providing youth with outlets for expression, opportunities for adults of all ages to witness diverse stories being told on the stage, and vibrant neighborhood programs that promote unity and understanding. Numerous studies from the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts demonstrate the positive impact of the arts on communities across the country. Studies from the World Health Organization have also shown the incredible health benefits associated with arts participation, especially among youth in the areas of social and emotional development. Despite these many benefits, South Arlington residents have historically been left without access to high-quality and affordable art. Avant Bard remains one of the few professional theaters in Arlington County delivering high-quality art to residents of South Arlington, and connecting patrons from all walks of life to the beauty of theater and multidisciplinary expression.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mainstage Productions

Avant Bard Theatre produces up to three professional productions annually, serving more than 4,000 patrons from across the D.C. metro region. Past accolades include eight Helen Hayes Awards and 38 nominations. The majority of Avant Bard's productions receive the coveted Helen Hayes Recommended status, a testament to Avant Bard's distinguished programming and innovative approach to theater.

Mainstage productions are performed at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, a 125-seat (depending on configuration) black box theater managed by Arlington County. Performances at Gunston Arts Center provide audiences with an unparalleled opportunity to intimately engage with the arts, and to witness groundbreaking and thought-provoking stories immediately adjacent to the stage.

Population(s) Served

Avant Bard fosters a home for local, emerging artists seeking to nurture their craft on the professional stage. The Scripts in Play Festival is Avant Bard’s premiere talent development initiative, inviting emerging playwrights from the D.C. region to perform a new work in front of a live audience, with assistance from an established director, dramaturg, and professional cast. Throughout seven years of festival programming, Avant Bard has nurtured the professional development of nearly 30 emerging playwrights through an unparalleled opportunity to represent their portfolio before Avant Bard’s constituents—including esteemed artistic directors and arts administrators. Many past Scripts in Play participants return to the Avant Bard mainstage to debut their festival entry, and often to critical acclaim—this includes the recently Helen Hayes Award-nominated productions of "TAME." (2016) by Jonelle Walker and "A Misanthrope" (2019) by Matthew Minnicino.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Artists and performers
Children
Adolescents
Low-income people
Adults
Artists and performers
Children
Adolescents
Low-income people

Where we work

Awards

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical - Miranda Medugno, Visible Language 2015

Helen Hayes Awards

Affiliations & memberships

2020 Outstanding Set Design - Helen Hayes 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average dollar price for performance tickets

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, Adolescent parents, At-risk youth, Low-income people

Related Program

Mainstage Productions

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Avant Bard offers one of the most expansive ticket affordability initiatives in the region. The Pay What You Can initiative reserves more than 600 flexibly priced tickets for each production.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Avant Bard Theatre began as an Arlington County Arts Incubator project in 1990. Founded as The Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc., Avant Bard has developed a positive reputation for high-quality and accessible art that promotes audience engagement, advances equity throughout the theater industry, and celebrates multidisciplinary forms of expression.

Avant Bard is led by a collaborative leadership team of three Producing Partners, who believe in democratizing decision-making within the theatre industry by sharing responsibilities for artistic direction and combining their professional expertise to maximize service delivery. Avant Bards Producing Partner team features three visionaries committed to fostering a culture of creativity throughout the D.C. region. This team presently includes Kathleen Akerley, Sara Barker, and Alyssa Sanders.

Avant Bard annually serves between 3,000 and 4,000 patrons from across the D.C. region through its plays, script readings and workshops, concert readings, and digital productions. Past accolades include eight Helen Hayes Awards and 38 nominations. The majority of Avant Bards productions receive the Helen Hayes Award Recommended status, a testament to Avant Bards distinguished programming and innovative approach to theater.

Avant Bard primarily performs at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, a 160-seat county-managed black box theater. Performances at Gunston Arts Center provide audiences with an unparalleled opportunity to intimately engage with the arts and witness groundbreaking and thought-provoking stories immediately adjacent to the stage.

Avant Bard fosters a home for local, emerging artists seeking to nurture their craft on the professional stage. Through the organizations annual Scripts in Play festival, rising playwrights are invited to workshop a new script with the company. Many of these plays become mainstage productions in subsequent seasons. Furthermore, these workshop readings allow younger, more diverse actors, directors, and dramaturges to materially engage with Avant Bards programming and enter a competitive, but rewarding, industry.

Theater must move beyond legacy approaches to programming to attract new audiences and improve accessibility to the arts. Avant Bard expresses this commitment to transformative and radical industry change by preserving free and low-cost programming throughout the season. Community events and workshops, such as the annual play reading series and digital presentations, are always free. For each mainstage production, Avant Bard designates at least 600 tickets as Pay What You Can, which means a patron can name their ticket price, with no set minimum and no maximum on the number of tickets purchased. Starting 2024, Avant Bard provides free tickets to all Arlington County middle and high school students, and 50 percent discounts remain in place for students, veterans and service members, and their families and caregivers.

Objective 1) To offer Arlington and the D.C. region challenging, innovative productions and programming of the highest quality.

Over 30 years, Avant Bard has served as the premiere theatre for groundbreaking, thought-provoking, contemporary interpretations of the classics. Avant Bard's 8 Helen Hayes Awards (including two awarded in 2020) and 38 nominations serve as a testament to Avant Bard's artistic prowess.

Objective 2) To make theatre accessible to everyone and ensure that low- and middle-income patrons, as well as younger patrons, can afford to attend performances.

Avant Bard believes that all of Arlington and the D.C. region should have access to affordable and engaging theatre. The Theatre sets aside 10 percent of tickets as Pay What You Will (PWYW), for each performance, which means patrons are encouraged to name-their-ticket price, the only theatre in Arlington to do so. 100 percent of tickets for preview performances are also PWYW. PWYW is an unwavering promise that price will never be a barrier to attending and enjoying an Avant Bard performance. Avant Bard also offers many other community programs and performances free-of-charge or PWYW, this includes the signature Bard's Action Corner conversations and outdoor productions at Lubber Run Amphitheatre.

Objective 3) To empower citizens of all ages to effect change in their communities by exploring and telling their stories through the dynamic resources of theatre and related arts.

In alignment with numerous analyses by the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and Virginia Commission for the Arts, Avant Bard prioritizes programs that engage youth and children in theatre. In recent years, Avant Bard has established several partnerships with Arlington Public Schools that engage youth in the classroom and instill in them early on an appreciation for artmaking. These partnerships typically involve an Avant Bard affiliated teaching artist providing instruction to small groups of students that cultivates their talents and nurtures the next generation of theatre-goers.

Objective 4) To foster Arlington County’s diversity and uplift representational casting that empowers historically marginalized voices and storytellers in theatre.

The Theatre’s Producing Partners, Board, and artist affiliates are committed to infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles into Avant Bard’s productions and programming. This begins with building a mainstage season and other programs that center the voices of BIPOC playwrights, women playwrights, and queer playwrights, so that their stories are heard and appreciated. This work then continues with casting and hiring artists, directors, and designers who are a part of the communities represented in these stories and are familiar with any cultural nuances that are necessary to tell the story effectively.

Avant Bard’s unique niche lies in the intimate, edgy, and affordable work that it produces. Avant Bard’s artists perform in spaces with a maximum capacity of 125, meaning that audience members are always close to the action on stage.

Avant Bard’s 8 Helen Hayes Awards, 38 Helen Hayes nominations, and numerous Helen Hayes Recommended productions, as well as the company’s two-time inclusion in the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the best small nonprofits in the region, provide ample evidence that Avant Bard has earned a singular position in the theatrical community of the Washington region.

Like most theatre companies, the pandemic hit us hard. We also lost our beloved artistic director, Tom Prewitt, during the pandemic (in November 2020). Instead of takingwhat seemed to bethe logical step of closing our doors, a few committed and passionate Avant Bardians drew up a business plan to keep the theatre going under an innovative shared leadership model. Under this new model, Avant Bard was able to raise enough to continue on. Our shared leadership model has sustained us as we have been able to bring in new leaders when needed. What's next? As we state in our current strategy, Avant Bard is keenly interested in collaborations with other small professional theatres in the region. At least one production per year will be a co-production. We are also intent on fostering the new generation of theatre makers and goers. To support that goal, we will provide all Arlington County middle and high school students free admission to our productions. We will also continue and expand our high school and college internship opportunities.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Financials

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Average of 1.06 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Average of 1.9 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

%

Average of 6% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $2,148 -$11,347 -$895 $64,488 $1,310
As % of expenses 0.7% -4.4% -0.4% 73.8% 0.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $2,148 -$11,347 -$895 $64,488 $1,310
As % of expenses 0.7% -4.4% -0.4% 73.8% 0.7%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $300,111 $247,341 $211,870 $151,816 $176,530
Total revenue, % change over prior year 11.4% -17.6% -14.3% -28.3% 16.3%
Program services revenue 17.4% 16.2% 5.7% 3.2% 19.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 11.0% 13.2% 20.6% 23.4% 13.3%
All other grants and contributions 71.5% 67.9% 73.5% 73.4% 67.2%
Other revenue 0.0% 2.7% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $297,963 $258,451 $212,765 $87,328 $175,220
Total expenses, % change over prior year 5.0% -13.3% -17.7% -59.0% 100.6%
Personnel 30.1% 38.3% 53.7% 42.1% 23.7%
Professional fees 16.6% 7.3% 8.0% 12.0% 8.0%
Occupancy 1.9% 2.6% 0.0% 0.2% 0.7%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 51.5% 51.8% 38.2% 45.6% 67.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $297,963 $258,451 $212,765 $87,328 $175,220
One month of savings $24,830 $21,538 $17,730 $7,277 $14,602
Debt principal payment $14 $0 $0 $481 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $322,807 $279,989 $230,495 $95,086 $189,822

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 0.2 0.4 1.4 9.7 4.8
Months of cash and investments 0.2 0.4 1.4 9.7 4.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -0.3 -0.8 -1.1 6.2 3.2
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $5,277 $8,058 $24,595 $70,610 $70,638
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $1,443 $27,239 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $1,154 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 187.5% 150.3% 175.0% 36.5% 34.7%
Unrestricted net assets -$6,849 -$18,196 -$19,091 $45,397 $46,707
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets -$6,849 -$18,196 -$19,091 $45,397 $46,707

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Documents
Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Producing Partner

Sara Barker

Sara Barker (she/her) is a DC-area stage actor who stepped in to collaboratively lead Avant Bard Theatre with Alyssa Sanders and others after the loss of Avant Bard's beloved artistic director, Tom Prewitt in 2020. Avant Bard now has a shared leadership model of "Producing Partners," who include Sara, Alyssa, and since 2024, Kathleen Akerley (https://avantbard.org/about/kathleen-akerley/). Sara's Avant Bard credits include Suddenly Last Summer, King Lear, Emilie, Orlando, Othello, A Misanthrope, Mary Stuart. Other DC-area credits: A Maze, This Storm is What We Call Progress (Rorschach), 4.48 Psychosis (Factory 449), The Importance of Being Earnest, A Woman of No Importance (Scena), and The Cherry Orchard (Faction of Fools). New York credits include Lear DeBessonets Death Might Be Your Santa Claus. Sara attended St. Johns College in Annapolis, MD and lives with her family in Arlington, VA. www.sarabarker.com

Producing Partner

Alyssa Sanders

Alyssa Sanders (she/her) is a DC-area stage actor who stepped in to collaboratively lead Avant Bard Theatre with Alyssa Sanders and others after the loss of Avant Bard's beloved artistic director, Tom Prewitt in 2020. Avant Bard now has a shared leadership model of "Producing Partners," who include Alyssa, Sara, and since 2023, Kathleen Akerley (https://avantbard.org/about/kathleen-akerley/). Alyssa's acting credits include Goneril to Rick Foucheuxs final performance as King Lear in Avant Bards King Lear (2017), the dual roles of Mr. Bennet and Charlotte in Nextstop Theatre Companys production of Pride and Prejudice (2019), and as Emilia in Avant Bards Othello (2015). Ms. Sanders contributes 20 years of experience working in nonprofit advocacy and management. She creatively addresses challenges facing nonprofit organizations and advises clients on pragmatic solutions to industry obstacles.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Washington Shakespeare Company of Arlington County, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/12/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Edgar Ndjatou

Principal, Officium, LLC

Term: 2023 - 2026

Edgar Ndjatou

Officium, LLC

Peter Threadgill

Retired, U.S. Federal Government

Nia Hill

Deloitte

Genie Barton

Retired, VP & General Counsel, USTelecom

Sara Cormeny

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/12/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/02/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.